Prepositional phrases can be tricky. I’ve found a few ways they can really trip up writers and change the meaning of otherwise fine sentences. One of those ways: the simple order of prepositional phrases. When they become misplaced modifiers, prepositional phrases throw a money wrench in your sentence’s meaning.
What’s wrong with these sentences?
Why would she share the secret he’d confided in her in the hall with her parents?
He remembered the dog he’d found as he was walking in the apartment across the street.
One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas.
A man was bitten by a bat walking down the street on his thumb.
She couldn’t believe he was standing there after their conversation yesterday on the sidewalk.
Notice that often the problem is using multiple modifiers or more than one prepositional phrase. As we stack the phrases, we have to be sure the meaning doesn’t get lost, or we’ll leave our readers like these characters from Clue:
So how would you fix them? Next week!
Photo credits: tools—HomeSpot HQ